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In Praise of Bad Attitudes

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  • In Praise of Bad Attitudes

    In Praise of Bad Attitudes
    The local newspaper once ran a human interest story about a halfway house that found work for mentally handicapped adults. It quoted a restaurateur who employed one of the residents as a minimum wage dishwasher: I wish I had twenty like him hes got such a good attitude!

    That speaks volumes: When people in authority talk about someone with a good attitude, they mean someone who hasnt managed to figure out hes being diddled, that theres a man behind the curtain, that the rules are made for the benefit of well, for the benefit of the people who make the rules.

    The publik skool system serves the need of people in authority to have human resources who will obey with a good attitude anyone sitting behind a desk.

    The next time you hear complaints about someone having a bad attitude, keep this in mind: Its entirely because of people with bad attitudes that youre not a slave. For the fact that youre not working on a chain gang building a pyramid, you should thank all those whose previous bad attitudes won your present degree of freedom. Their bad attitudes echo down to us through time as the principal obstacle to your re-enslavement in the here and now.

    When, in all of human history, have those with wealth and power ever willingly surrendered the tiniest crumb of it, or extended the range of freedom by a single millimeter, merely because in the goodness of their hearts they thought it would be a nice thing to do? Have the classes that own the world ever voluntarily reduced the tribute they charged to labor?

    No. Throughout history, what Adam Smith called the masters of mankind have been motivated by a single vile maxim: All for ourselves and nothing for other people. They have departed from it only in the face of resistance. To quote Frederick Douglass, power concedes nothing without a demand.

    Even when these classes were spurred by shame to moderate the scale of their own injustice, it was only because some slave, some serf, some hand in a Dark Satanic Mill overcame the good attitude into which the ruling classes attempted to inculcate them, and told the masters how despicable they were. It was because people with bad attitudes contested the values of the systems official legitimizing ideology and said, loud and clear, Non serviam!

    Even in historys darkest and most brutal periods of servitude, the evil was limited in its force by the potential for resistance. The rigor of the masters hand throughout history has been tempered, if only a little, by the fear of generating another Spartacus, another Nat Turner, another Big Bill Haywood. The hand of power has always been limited, if nothing else, by the fact that even the most brainwashed slave will eventually say No more! The lowliest worm will finally turn.

    So next time you hear some right-wing authoritarian express gratitude for all the freedoms that weve been given in this country, like we received our liberty from the beneficence of those in power, remember these words from Rudolf Rocker:

    Political rights do not originate in parliaments; they are rather forced upon them from without. They do not exist because they have been legally set down on a piece of paper, but only when they have become the ingrown habit of a people, and when any attempt to impair them will meet with the violent resistance of the populace. All political rights and liberties which people enjoy today, they do not owe to the good will of their governments, but to their own strength. Great mass movements and whole revolutions have been necessary to wrest them from the ruling classes, who would never have consented to them voluntarily.

    Freedom is never given; it is always taken. So for the fact that youre not a slave, dont thank those in authority. Thank someone with a bad attitude.

    Citations to this article:

    Kevin Carson, Thank Societys Bad Attitudes for Your Freedom, The Skanner, Portland, Oregon, 5 Aug 2010
    http://c4ss.org/content/3399

    First, I wasn't sure where to submit this new thread? Please feel free to move it, especially if it would make more sense to place it elsewhere.

    I acknowledge that In Praise of Bad Attitudes" may be a 'catchy' title however I'm interested in what folks think about the 'meat' of the article. Does Mr. Carson present a legitimate case for his thoughtviews? Do you agree with any of it? Do you disagree with all of it? Do you agree/disagree with parts of it? Why or why not?

    Please note it's entirely acceptable to quote scripture here or from any other source, especially if it helps to present your own thoughtviews.

    Thanks & respect.

  • #2
    Re: In Praise of Bad Attitudes

    There is some truth to the article, IMO. The bad attitude has a place, but if one wants to survive in our system, you need the intelligence to know when to keep the bad attitude in check. For the worst thing I ever run into is a clerk with a bad attitude. So, one has to know in what realm the bad attitude is worth presenting. I don't imagine presenting a bad attitude to a slave owner in the 1850s was an intelligent thing to do.

    I discovered many years ago in business that one bad attitude can affect others, and pretty soon it seems infectious. It can cause others to get a piss poor attitude. I recall having one employee like that early on in my business, and I had ran into a few of them when I worked for a corporation as a dist. mgr, and later a zone mgr. I must confess that I tended to nip such things in the bud, to find a reason to terminate early as possible, for it will rot the moral of the team, or, it can. The way this was handled when I was in boot camp in the 60s, is that the entire company would be punished for one man's bad attitude. And generally, the company had a soap bar party at night. I am afraid that method worked, but I did not partiscipate with the beating. And it shocked the senses of an 18 year old farm boy, raised to be decent, nonviolent and caring.

    But outside of what a bad attitude can do to a business, we need to instill it in other areas of existence, because historically what the article said is factual. BTW, I thought the latest info on the building of the pyramids was that slaves did not do it, workers did.

    ?


    • #3
      Re: In Praise of Bad Attitudes

      It would really help moral if the lower paid staff were treated with a tiny bit of respect and not treated like scum who are asked to work harder and harder for the same money and with none of the benefits that higher paid staff enjoy.
      I can't really blame someone for being grumpy when they see good people passed over for promotion just because they aren't in a circle of friends with management year after year and see conditions getting worse and worse as companies cut back to the bone so those that are left are dumped on with work that used to be done by 10 people now being done by 4.

      ?


      • #4
        Re: In Praise of Bad Attitudes

        Originally posted by Blue Doggy View Post
        There is some truth to the article, IMO. The bad attitude has a place, but if one wants to survive in our system, you need the intelligence to know when to keep the bad attitude in check. For the worst thing I ever run into is a clerk with a bad attitude. So, one has to know in what realm the bad attitude is worth presenting. I don't imagine presenting a bad attitude to a slave owner in the 1850s was an intelligent thing to do.
        Are you saying it makes sense to wisely 'choose your battles'? If so, I agree, it goes along with 'traveling light'.

        A slave presenting a bad attitude to a slave owner in the 1850s? I don't think the example falls neatly into that category. In general, I think most folks react quite poorly when driven into a corner. Personally, I have trouble expressing anger appropriately when I'm backed into a corner. Sometimes it's courage & sometimes it's the only avenue open to defend oneself & to do the most intelligent thing - escape. We still have that 'fight or flight' thing going on. On a personal level, I prefer to choose, when possible, 'flight.' In work environments, there's a management style that seems to dictate one is 'doing it right' if one's employees fear one. This is the same type of 'work culture' that seems to dictate 'fear motivates.' What some folks don't seem to realize is, the 'fight or flight' response kicks in here too. Some folks look at situations like these more rationally by attempting to determine if the environment holds danger (as in, is there something truly to fear going on here?). If so, is it worth fighting for? If not, get the hell outta there. That's the 'flight' thing.

        Originally posted by BlueDog
        I discovered many years ago in business that one bad attitude can affect others, and pretty soon it seems infectious. It can cause others to get a piss poor attitude. I recall having one employee like that early on in my business, and I had ran into a few of them when I worked for a corporation as a dist. mgr, and later a zone mgr. I must confess that I tended to nip such things in the bud, to find a reason to terminate early as possible, for it will rot the moral of the team, or, it can. The way this was handled when I was in boot camp in the 60s, is that the entire company would be punished for one man's bad attitude. And generally, the company had a soap bar party at night. I am afraid that method worked, but I did not partiscipate with the beating. And it shocked the senses of an 18 year old farm boy, raised to be decent, nonviolent and caring.
        Bad attitudes are infectious, just as are good ones. I guess it all depends on what the goals or objectives are? It also depends on the definition of healthy. I think people are more likely to protest or resist unhealthy conditions when they have 'nothing to lose.' That is, if they don't resist, their health suffers, & if they DO resist, their health suffers. They are, as in the example above, 'backed into a corner'.

        But outside of what a bad attitude can do to a business, we need to instill it in other areas of existence, because historically what the article said is factual. BTW, I thought the latest info on the building of the pyramids was that slaves did not do it, workers did.
        I dunno about the pyramids although I appreciate the fact they still exist, human beings have shorter natural life spans. I also appreciate the fact that we still exist & have progressively longer natural life spans.

        ?


        • #5
          Re: In Praise of Bad Attitudes

          Originally posted by PeterUK75 View Post
          It would really help moral if the lower paid staff were treated with a tiny bit of respect and not treated like scum who are asked to work harder and harder for the same money and with none of the benefits that higher paid staff enjoy.
          I can't really blame someone for being grumpy when they see good people passed over for promotion just because they aren't in a circle of friends with management year after year and see conditions getting worse and worse as companies cut back to the bone so those that are left are dumped on with work that used to be done by 10 people now being done by 4.
          I hear ya Peter & I get it on a personal level. In general, I think people resent the lies more than anything else.

          ?


          • #6
            Re: In Praise of Bad Attitudes

            Originally posted by Quinn View Post
            I hear ya Peter & I get it on a personal level. In general, I think people resent the lies more than anything else.
            When management don't listen to people on the shop floor who are doing the job and make changes those people know will not help it really hits moral hard.
            Even a crappy job can be made tolerable if you feel you have some sort of ability to make suggestions on how to improve things and they are then enacted but this so often doesn't happen.

            ?


            • #7
              Re: In Praise of Bad Attitudes

              Originally posted by PeterUK75 View Post
              When management don't listen to people on the shop floor who are doing the job and make changes those people know will not help it really hits moral hard.
              Even a crappy job can be made tolerable if you feel you have some sort of ability to make suggestions on how to improve things and they are then enacted but this so often doesn't happen.
              I agree here too. I think it's as you said in the earlier post, if employees are treated with respect & listened to, they are more likely to respect & listen to supervisors, managers or administrators. The following may be an axiomatic statement however I believe it's worth considering. If one wants something _____, one must be willing to give that thing _____ to others. If one wants respect, one should be willing to respect others, if one wants to be listened to, one must be willing to listen to others.

              It's one of the reasons (imho) why the German ordoliberal approach to employment & labor/management relations works far better, in reality & in various economic conditions/circumstances than the approach practiced here in these United States of America.

              & even crappy jobs are tolerable when one can continue to put food on the table for one's family, have clean water & shelter, access to health care when one needs it, & the amount of time necessary to have healthy relationships with family & friends.

              In poor economic times, it would be helpful for supervisors, managers & administrators to explain, at the very least, any necessary changes in:
              • job responsibilities & expectations - it would be helpful to clarify.
              • assignment of reasonable workloads - if it's necessary to increase workloads, it would be helpful to explain why & for how long.
              • allowance of appropriate levels of autonomy - allowing autonomy would include the ability to make suggestions on improvement & to know one's suggestions are seriously being considered.


              Of course, knowing the 'right' people helps some folks get positions they're not particularly well suited for, & being the best suited person for a particular job is not necessarily a guarantee of attaining the job, however I'm not really sure what can be done about that? Respect, & honesty in these things is appreciated by most folks.

              ?


              • #8
                Re: In Praise of Bad Attitudes

                Originally posted by Quinn View Post
                I agree here too. I think it's as you said in the earlier post, if employees are treated with respect & listened to, they are more likely to respect & listen to supervisors, managers or administrators. The following may be an axiomatic statement however I believe it's worth considering. If one wants something _____, one must be willing to give that thing _____ to others. If one wants respect, one should be willing to respect others, if one wants to be listened to, one must be willing to listen to others.

                It's one of the reasons (imho) why the German ordoliberal approach to employment & labor/management relations works far better, in reality & in various economic conditions/circumstances than the approach practiced here in these United States of America.

                & even crappy jobs are tolerable when one can continue to put food on the table for one's family, have clean water & shelter, access to health care when one needs it, & the amount of time necessary to have healthy relationships with family & friends.

                In poor economic times, it would be helpful for supervisors, managers & administrators to explain, at the very least, any necessary changes in:
                • job responsibilities & expectations - it would be helpful to clarify.
                • assignment of reasonable workloads - if it's necessary to increase workloads, it would be helpful to explain why & for how long.
                • allowance of appropriate levels of autonomy - allowing autonomy would include the ability to make suggestions on improvement & to know one's suggestions are seriously being considered.


                Of course, knowing the 'right' people helps some folks get positions they're not particularly well suited for, & being the best suited person for a particular job is not necessarily a guarantee of attaining the job, however I'm not really sure what can be done about that? Respect, & honesty in these things is appreciated by most folks.
                We are being taught that business, corporations are exempt from morality, so they can have the status of "amoral". In such a paradigm, we allow the corruption, the lack of moral values, and this leads to greater disorder, greater problems, even as we demand morality from the simple working man who works for these corporations. That is an incoherence, and all incoherences will make the natural flow of things disorderly, chaotic, and nonsensical.

                ?


                • #9
                  Re: In Praise of Bad Attitudes

                  So, just out of curiosity, how did Martin Luther King Jr have a bad attitude?

                  How bout the Founders?

                  Originally posted by Isaiah 5:20
                  20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

                  ?


                  • #10
                    Re: In Praise of Bad Attitudes

                    Originally posted by Commodore View Post
                    So, just out of curiosity, how did Martin Luther King Jr have a bad attitude?

                    How bout the Founders?
                    According to the article posted, Martin Luther King Jr & the Founders had 'bad attitudes' & for that, personally, I am grateful.

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                    • #11
                      Re: In Praise of Bad Attitudes

                      Originally posted by Blue Doggy View Post
                      We are being taught that business, corporations are exempt from morality, so they can have the status of "amoral". In such a paradigm, we allow the corruption, the lack of moral values, and this leads to greater disorder, greater problems, even as we demand morality from the simple working man who works for these corporations. That is an incoherence, and all incoherences will make the natural flow of things disorderly, chaotic, and nonsensical.
                      How does that all jive with the 'corporations are people' schtick? Are you saying that's all just sophistry?

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                      • #12
                        Re: In Praise of Bad Attitudes

                        The idea that corporations are people is the biggest pile of shit in world politics.
                        I was part of a school chess club did that count as a person with rights?

                        When a corperation can go to prison or get a gay marriage then it can start being thought of as a person but as it can't I won't.

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                        • #13
                          Re: In Praise of Bad Attitudes

                          Originally posted by Quinn View Post
                          According to the article posted, Martin Luther King Jr & the Founders had 'bad attitudes' & for that, personally, I am grateful.
                          How?

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                          • #14
                            Re: In Praise of Bad Attitudes

                            Originally posted by PeterUK75 View Post
                            The idea that corporations are people is the biggest pile of shit in world politics.
                            I was part of a school chess club did that count as a person with rights?

                            When a corperation can go to prison or get a gay marriage then it can start being thought of as a person but as it can't I won't.
                            Are stockholders people? Do they not deserve the same applicable abilities to express themselves as a group as they do individually?

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                            • #15
                              Re: In Praise of Bad Attitudes

                              Yes stockholders are people but my point is a corporation isn't a physical thing.
                              Making corporations people is no different in my view than making a table people.
                              A person is a living individual a corporation is just a name given to a bunch of people and should be covered amply by corporate law.

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